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September 23, 2018

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Love, app-tually: Your guide to online dating

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You’re looking for The One. You’ve gone on blind dates, trusted the friend who said she had a “cute coworker” and worn out the single-person-at-a-bar look.

Everyone has apps on their phone, so why not download one that can help you find your special someone? If all else fails, you’ll probably have a couple stories to laugh about.

Here’s your map to the world of online dating—there’s a lot of routes from which to choose.

How many people are really on these things?

• About 40 percent of Americans are on or have used dating apps, and 59 percent think online dating is a good way to meet people, according to the Pew Research Center.

• More men are on online dating sites and apps (52.4 percent) than women (47.6 percent).

A little help

Thirty percent of women have friends help set up their profile.

Sixteen percent of men do the same.

• Fifteen percent of couples who meet on apps have been together for more than a year, and 13.6 percent are already engaged or married.

• The number of people age 18-24 on dating apps has tripled since 2013, now at 27 percent.

• On the other end of the spectrum, the number of 55-64-year-olds has also doubled in the past three years, now at 12 percent.

Which one is best for me?

Before hitting that download button or paying for a subscription, figure out which dating avenue is best for you. Certain apps and sites target specific interests, age and class demographics.

Liar, liar

• Most men lie about: height, income, age

• Most women lie about: age, physical build, weight

For those hoping for Mr. or Mrs. Right, choose a site or an app that asks you to answer more questions or to build an in-depth profile. (Paying for a monthly subscription helps, too.) If the setup process is quick, it’s more likely you’re on a site that isn’t exactly attracting individuals with the hopes of commitment.

• Match.com: The site attracts a more mature crowd, with an average age of 45. After building a detailed profile, you can match with people with similar interests, do a reverse search to find someone looking for someone like you or browse who is actively online and begin chatting with them.

Cost: $42 a month (but you can save if you sign up for a longer membership)

• eHarmony: The site has a patented Compatibility Matching System, which considers everything from beliefs and hobbies to age and location when providing matches for a long-term relationship.

Cost: A six-month membership runs about $45 a month.

Coffee Meets Bagel: The app finds men up to 21 matches a day, and they’re given the option to “like” or “pass.” The app then curates the best matches for women based on the men who expressed interest in them. There’s no endless swiping, no wondering about “the one that got away.” Women can only see individuals who “liked” them. The median age of users is 30, a good fit for young professionals looking for someone.

Cost: Free

•••

For those looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right Now, we get it. Not everything is serious. Here are the apps that tend to attract people just looking for fun dates and easy connections. Setup is easy and requires no payment or commitment, literally. That said, we’ve all had the friend who meets a great guy or girl on one of these apps, so it is still possible to meet someone more serious.

• Tinder: The median age on this app is 26, so in general, it’s meant for a younger crowd. Many complain it’s ultra-superficial, allowing people to swipe yes or no endlessly. For those traveling to new cities or hoping to meet someone quickly, this app is an easy fit.

• Plenty of Fish: This site had 90 million users at one point and now reports to have about 70 million. The downside? There are a lot of profiles to weed through, but if you’re really trying to meet someone, more options might be beneficial. (Most people find a match within 24 hours).

• Bumble: This app has women reach out first (good for the shy guys not quite ready to make the first move!) and is similar to Tinder in that the primary method is swiping through photos from social media. The average age is 26.

For particularly particular people

• Soul Geek: Star-crossed, Star Trek lovers finally have a place to meet.

• My 420 Mate: The site’s slogan is “plant your seed and watch your love grow.” And yes, it’s all about finding your cannabis crush.

• Wingman: For those constantly on the road or in the air, this app sets you up with other frequent fliers.

• Bristlr: Created to connect “those with beards to those who want to stroke beards.” Sounds like a joke? It was, when it started. Then it quickly received a lot of attention.

• Farmers Only: The city life is too much for some people.

• Gluten Free Singles: Avoiding bread but not love? There is truly an app for everyone.

Looking for something more specific?

There are dozens of apps. So what if you are looking for something you feel is oddly specific? Not to worry. There’s definitely an app for everyone.

You’re hoping to date someone who ...

• is attracted to the same sex: GRINDR for men and HER for women. While some of the apps we already mentioned are all-inclusive, these two focus on finding same-sex connections.

• has similar taste in music: Tastebuds matches you with others based on music profiles.

• is pretty much guaranteed to not be a creep: Hinge helps you meet a friend of a friend. All connections are Facebook-based on your friends’ friends. The median age is 27, and you could always reach out to that mutual friend to ask for a low-down before you head to your date.

• must love dogs: TinDog Can’t date another guy who loves his Chihuahuas more than your German Shepherds? The app lets you match with fellow dog lovers, and their pet preferences.

• plans a really cool first date: How About We hasn’t received too much attention yet. Instead of focusing on questions and details about yourself, you suggest dates. Museum tours, hiking, open-mic nights, whatever. Someone can accept that date and go on it. Tired of dinner and a movie? This may be for you.

Tips for building your best profile

1. Post those action shots: People who post pictures of themselves doing activities—traveling, showing off a hobby —tend to get more messages.

2. Be positive! Even if you’ve had dating fails, don’t list or use language that insinuates a negative outlook.

3. Smile: The pout? The majority of people are actually not into it. Smiles receive more messages.

4. Keep it short: While it can be easy to write a long, rambling profile, most won’t read a whole life story. Simply list who you are, how you live your life and the kind of relationship you are seeking.

5. Be specific: If you love traveling, list where. If you read a lot, write out your favorite books. Matches are easier to find this way!

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.